Colorado’s schools rest in the hands of voters on November 6th

 

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Polling center gets ready for midday voters.  Photo by Jack Stilwell

 

 

  With many new propositions on the ballot this year, there are a few to look in to, and not just Amendment A’s measure to prohibit slavery. One measure connects to students, the controversial Amendment 73, which plans to raise taxes on high income earners to bring more money to schools. The community is split on whether it will better or worsen Colorado and its education system.

  The amendment works by raising taxes on earners with taxable incomes that exceed $150,000, and then exponentially increases with income. Those who make less than $150,000 on their taxable income are not affected.

  It plans to raise 1.6 billion for the 2019-2020 year. Money will raise more than $500 per student, as well as funding money for the special education program, English language learners, preschool and more. A big chunk of the money, $738 million, is left open for the legislature to decide what to do with.

  As a student, Dennis Meighan, senior, is for the amendment. Meighan said, “Funding for schools could support us in the short and long term. Teachers are giving up on the school system, and this measure could really help them.” Although the measure doesn’t directly explain the effect on  teachers, it is estimated some of the overall money would go to funding teachers.

  Mike Schmidt, English teacher, is pushing for the amendment to pass. “We do need more state funding in education,” Schmidt said. “Common sense would tell you that a class of 25 would learn better than a class of 35 because a teacher can be more direct with students and really get to know them and their learning habits.” Helping teachers could in turn help their students progress in their academic careers.

  Along with teacher pay, the money could also help fix some major issues wrong with individual schools. Dennis Sierra, business CTE teacher, said, “Being able to have the financial resources to do our jobs effectively is the biggest asset.”

  Alyson Kleinman, social studies teacher, also will be voting yes on the issue. Kleinman said, “We need new materials. Not having things like 30 year old textbooks, or ones falling apart, could mean a lot.”

  But not everyone is for the amendment. Some are arguing against it. Joel Shallow, a father of three who lives in Lone Tree, is voting no on the measure. Shallow said, “It fundamentally changes the way we fund our schools in Colorado and will take more money from Colorado than it puts back in. It is also not specific on what will happen to the money. I believe school districts should be funded locally, instead of changing it to a statewide funding mechanism which never goes well for people.”

  This is a big argument for those against the measure, as the ballot does not fully describe how the money will be spent, and whether or not it will affect individual schools.

  Gianni Frangella, junior, is also against 73. “After amendment 64, for legalizing marijuana, promised to bring profits towards schools failed, I don’t trust Colorado to execute this one right either,” Frangella said. “Why should money come off taxpayers income if no promise is made to benefit them and their children?”

  With the issue split across Colorado, it is up to voters to decide whether Amendment 73 will pass. And whether you are for or against the issue, the controversy over 73 is resulting in much more debate on the state of Colorado’s education system. Tune in on Nov. 6 to see how the amendment will go and how it will affect Colorado.

Jack Stilwell, Guest Reporter

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